Chester cabinetmaker stars in BBC's Jay’s Yorkshire Workshop

Ciarán Ó Braonáin

Cabinetmaker and TV expert Ciarán Ó Braonáin in Jay's Yorkshire Workshop - Credit: Andrew Price

Cheshire-based cabinetmaker Ciarán Ó Braonáin is one of the stars of the BBC’s latest feel-good TV show. 

Jay’s Yorkshire Workshop featuring The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades is a new, six-part series that sees the furniture restorer turn his attention to creating bespoke ‘thank you’ gifts for deserving members of the public who have helped their local communities. 

Jay's Yorkshire Workshop

Jay Blades with Ciarán Ó Braonáin and the crew of Jay's Yorkshire Workshop - Credit: BBC

Among the three experts helping Jay design and create the bespoke wooden presents is Cheshire-based cabinetmaker Ciarán Ó Braonáin.  

The 40-year-old, who runs his Cheshire Woodworking business from his workshop in Alvanley, near Chester, is one of the most skilled furniture and gun box makers in the country. He, and most of the high-tech, specialised saws, lathes and other tools he uses daily, were recruited by the BBC for filming in April. 

At the end of each episode Ciarán, who is assisted by two apprentices, and the other experts present their creations to the deserving recipients. And it is fair to say there is rarely a dry eye in the house. 

Ciarán, a father-of-three, who lives in Ashton Hayes, says: ‘When I got the call I just knew I had to do it,’ he said. ‘The stories of the people we created gifts for were just so inspirational. 

‘And I was assisted by two amazing apprentices who, despite only having only limited knowledge of woodworking, really stepped up and blew me away. We had such fun during the filming and seeing the joy on the faces of those who received our bespoke pieces at the end was just amazing. I don’t mind admitting that I shed a few tears myself.’ 

Those who received gifts in the first episode included care home staff who moved in with residents to protect them from Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic, a foster mother who has devoted her life to caring for special needs children and a man who donated part of his liver to a stranger. 

Jay's Yorkshire Workshop

Jay's Yorkshire Workshop with Jay Blades and Cheshire cabinetmaker Ciarán Ó Braonáin - Credit: BBC

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Dublin-born Ciarán, who lives with wife, Claire, 45, and their three children, Sophie, 12, Molly, 11, and Harry, nine, said many of his pieces are inspired by Delamere Forest and the beautiful Cheshire countryside on his doorstep. 

His day job involves creating beautiful bespoke tables, chairs and gun boxes from the finest solid walnut, oak and ash for his clients. The gun boxes are made to measure to fit inside the boots of Land Rovers and other 4x4s, and include luxury hospitality units for glasses, drinks and cigars, are popular with Cheshire’s sporting gun and shooting set. 

‘I was born in Dublin, but spent a lot of summers during my childhood on farms and messing about in the woods and countryside near Celbridge, in County Kildare,’ Ciarán said. ‘I suppose that set me up early on, it gave me a love of nature and the natural world. 

‘I did well in woodwork at school and it seemed natural to go on to do a degree in furniture design and manufacture. It wasn’t until I did some work experience during my course, however, that I realised it was the very skilled, hand-crafted furniture that I really enjoyed making.’ 

He joked that his friends and family were unlikely to allow his newfound fame to go to his head. 

‘They will keep my feet on the ground,’ he laughed. ‘Unless I get offered Strictly, then there will be no stopping me!’ 

For more on Ciarán’s furniture and courses contact Ciaran on 07515178447 or go to cheshirewoodworking.co.uk/